By Leighton Ginn
INDIAN WELLS, Calif. — Taylor Fritz knows not to go to his father Guy for positive reinforcement.
So no matter how impressive Fritz was Friday in beating Benoit Paire in the first round of the BNP Paribas Open, he knows his dad will not be as positive as he probably would like to be.
“He’s not easy to give a compliment,” the younger Fritz said about his dad. “He really tells you how it is, which annoyed me at times, because I’d want some confidence and he’d just be, like, No. It’s really tough to get a compliment out of him.”
At 19, Fritz has built up considerate buzz as a rising star on the men’s tour, with huge weapons in his serve and forehand. It’s a standard of Guy Fritz players, which could also be seen on the women’s tour.
CoCo Vandeweghe’s first coach was Fritz and his brother Harry. In January, Vandeweghe reached the semifinals of the Australian Open before falling to Venus Williams in three sets.
“My dad is obviously an amazing coach. He completely developed both of our games from the start to when we basically turned pro,” Taylor Fritz said. “He is a great service coach. You look at both of our games (and) serves is a huge focal point in our game.”
“He’s been able to help a lot of people with their serves in the past, and he’s just a guy that loves the game and wants to help people who he thinks can be good. He’s pretty selective with who he picks. Obviously, I made the cut because I’m his son.”
Fritz described his father as old-fashioned. He talked about their differences on getting a fitness coach, which Fritz now has through the USTA.
The victory on Friday was Fritz’s first in the main draw of the BNP Paribas Open. Two years ago, he lost in qualifying and last year he lost in the first round to another rising American talent, Frances Tiafoe.
The Indian Wells area is a second home to Taylor Fritz, and his father and uncle made a name for themselves in the area. Father Guy started the junior college program at College of the Desert, which became a national power. Uncle Harry started the program at Palm Desert High School.
Fritz also has strong tennis genes from his mother Kathy, who was a top-10 player on the women’s tour who won seven titles.
While Fritz thrived under his father’s coaching, he said it could be tough at times when he was looking for reassurance.
“Tennis is a lot of confidence, in my opinion. So I always wanted someone who was just going to make me think I’m the best player ever, even if I’m not. Someone who is just going to fill me up with compliments, tell me how good I am,” Taylor Fritz said. “I always wanted his approval. I still want his approval, even though we don’t even work together anymore. I called him up the other day because I thought I was hitting really great. Come over, watch me hit. He wasn’t as thrilled as I was with how I was hitting.”
“I’m sure he’s happy to see me win here. I’m sure he’s happy to see me playing good tennis, even if he doesn’t want to tell me.”